Anfield, 30 December 2017.
Harry Maguire has been phenomenal in keeping out Liverpool’s on-form front three today for his team Leicester City. The biggest compliment you can offer his performance is that the home crowd are getting firmly on his back after he has just fouled Mo Salah, and some lad behind me in the Kop has just called him a ‘f*****g meat and potato pie.’ Harry Maguire to join Liverpool this summer is 11/1 with RedsBet.
Anfield is gnarly and intense tonight, the stadium has more edge than a Sergio Ramos meet-and-greet event in Cairo. Every refereeing decision questioned, every attack roared on.
Anfield is ALIVE tonight.
Leicester passed their way into a lead after three minutes through a well-worked move finished off by Jamie Vardy but from then on Liverpool were on top.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool knocking on the door, trying to turn the key. Jurgen Klopp and his side currently in the midst of a 14 match unbeaten run, however sat 18 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.
The reward for getting back into this match is maintaining a grip on the top four, not a massive prize, but yet for some reason it FEELS like everything.
Four days earlier in a wave of mulled wine and lads and girls in new threads gifted to them the previous day, a barnstorming Liverpool side dispatched Swansea City 5-0 in style.
Yet the very next game the team are struggling to recreate that attacking flair and glut of goals.
We’ve all been here before. Mesmerising one game, pedestrian the next. Liverpool, at home, struggling to break down a side that their qualities are far greater than. Liverpool to win the Premier League next season is 11/2 with RedsBet.
This kind of scenario has been all too regular at Anfield for years now, possibly even decades, although I remember it more vividly happening pre and post 13/14 under Brendan Rodgers and in the first part of Klopp’s reign.
However, there is something very different tonight.
The atmosphere at Anfield for the majority of games for a little while has been poor. If it’s not a game against the rest of the top six big-hitters or Everton it’s not rocking, it’s not gnarly and as our visitors like to remind us every five minutes – the ‘famous atmosphere’ is not in evidence.
Mistakes from players can lead to a different kind of roar- usually ones of disapproval… ‘F*ck sake lad’ can be heard more than ‘Poor Scouser Tommy’. There are plenty trying to gee the players and fans up but the chants and noise are more sporadic than electric.
I will never not enjoy and appreciate the privilege of being able to go and watch Liverpool Football Club play at Anfield but it’s fair to say the noise being created has sometimes been passive.
This felt different.
We really wanted this, we really wanted to win this game.
It was raucous, it was jumping. ‘F*ck off Mahrez, f*ck off Vardy, f*ck off Maguire ye Oxo cube’.
Liverpool were in the middle of a fantastic run and playing some spell-binding football. We deserved these points, these are our points, you lot are massive gegs.
This was the example of a fanbase all singing from the same hymn sheet. Everyone’s ambitions, fans and players, all heading in the right direction.
Little did we know that on this night, 30 December 2017, that this would be the wave of feeling that was going to dominate the last five months of the season. The club had something massive to fight for and the fans were fighting right behind and alongside the players towards it.
It’s really interesting reflecting on the season as a whole now, with the final firmly in the rear-view mirror and looking back at certain points of the season.
Was this a turning point in terms of the atmosphere at Anfield? Perhaps it was. I have been to plenty of games since and have always come away with a bit of my voice gone, and believe me, it wasn’t like that for a while before.
The fans are making up new songs and singing them. We’ve got some boss lads playing their footy in front of us and going the match is really, really enjoyable again.
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City won’t go down in history as a very memorable game, but f*cking hell being at the game provoked a very memorable feeling.
Those last five months of the season brought with it a wave of support, songs and joy amongst our fanbase. There is no reason why we can’t carry that going into next season.
It feels like we have our club back.